This is a simplified version of how a hourglass would look. As you can see the natural progression of the flow (know, like, trust… flow to the right), the enablers or information to move the process forward is provided above each step. Taking a group of current customers, you can identify this in your current process. If this seems difficult, make a certain group that you can segment and document the process. Many companies will find huge gaps in their processes which are supported by other departments such as sales or service or maybe by repetitive marketing.
A quick primer for anyone that has not followed my blog or listen to me talk about marketing for over five minutes is that I adhere to the Duct Tape Marketing definition of marketing: Getting someone, who has a need, to know, like and trust you. Now, when you have a marketing system in place this expands to – getting someone, who has a need, to know, like, trust, try, buy and refer you.
One purpose of the hourglass is to provide clarity to an individual or organizations marketing process. This gives you the ability to walk a prospect through the process, understanding where they are at in the process. Typically, I have a customer add the activities that he uses in each stage of the hourglass. Don’t look at this as just a simple exercise for a small organization. I use this in larger organizations by just repeating this process for each sales channel they may have. The secret to this is that you really forces you to layout your marketing process and is really the beginning of development of your marketing system.
The purpose in creating your hourglass is to achieve better cooperation of the multiple phases. Each interlinking phase depends upon the other links. In each of them you will have different capabilities, normal variation and a changing workload making it practically impossible to balance. Using the TOC(Theory of Constraints) we will find one phase of the hourglass more limited than another. Since we have determined that the whole hourglass is dependent upon the cooperation of all phase, the weakest link determines the strength of the chain.